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MySQL 5.5 Reference Manual
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13.7.4.2 SET CHARACTER SET Syntax

SET {CHARACTER SET | CHARSET}
    {'charset_name' | DEFAULT}

This statement maps all strings sent between the server and the current client with the given mapping. SET CHARACTER SET sets three session system variables: character_set_client and character_set_results are set to the given character set, and character_set_connection to the value of character_set_database. See Section 10.1.4, “Connection Character Sets and Collations”.

charset_name may be quoted or unquoted.

The default character set mapping can be restored by using the value DEFAULT. The default depends on the server configuration.

ucs2, utf16, and utf32 cannot be used as a client character set, which means that they do not work for SET CHARACTER SET.


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